BR443 - LRDG Chev Gun Truck
Well before the start of the Second World War, a British officer in Egypt took an interest in the deep desert. Major Ralph Bagnold was a veteran desert traveller. He, along with some colleagues, pioneered techniques for crossing the Sahara with motor vehicles and is also credited with the development of the sundial compass. This device was critical for navigating the desert wastes where a normal compass would be lead astray by the many iron deposits in the Sahara.
When war broke out, Bagnold convinced General Archibald Wavell, the commander of the Middle East Command, to let him form a scouting force that would operate in the deep desert. He found a wealth of volunteers in the New Zealand Division who were bored out of their minds sitting around with nothing to do except drill.
Bagnold selected about 90 of the volunteers and organised them into the Long Range Patrol (LRP). However, the unit was quickly expanded and renamed the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). They were equipped with specially modified Ford and Chevorlet trucks, each fitted with a sun dial compass for desert navigation.
The new patrols included Guards, Rhodesian, and British units organised into two squadrons. The LRDG also received a Heavy Section, which experimented with transporting heavy equipment, such as a 25 pdr artillery piece and light tanks, into the deep desert. While these weapons gave their opponents great concern, the logistics of maintaining them was too great a challenge and the project was eventually abandoned in 1942.
The LRDG conducted a successful campaign in North Africa, hitting enemy supply convoys, raiding airfields, and conducting important ‘Road Watch’ missions where they simply recorded all enemy movement and reported it back to Alexandria.
After the North African campaign, the LRDG was retrained in mountain warfare and fought on Leros, one of the Dodecanese islands between Greece and the western coast of Turkey, the Dalmatian Islands, Corfu, and even into Albania and Yugoslavia. The legacy of the LRDG established the foundation for many of the modern special forces in operation today.
- one one-piece resin LRDG Chev truck with crew and weapon options
Designed by Evan Allen
Painted by James Brown
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